Right-Wing Group Continues to Diligently Stalk Environmental Leaders
By Climate Denier Roundup
Last May, we introduced you to CoreNews.org, a fake news page dedicated mainly to tailing Hillary Clinton, Tom Steyer and Bill McKibben. It's the product of a GOP opposition research PAC America Rising, one so dedicated to blatantly false political attacks that even Fox News has had to fact check it.
In the months since, they've been diligently stalking their targets and breaking big news like the time they caught McKibben as he committed the mortal sin of using plastic bags. This sort of unimportant but constant and creepy surveillance is the subject of McKibben's latest New York Times op-ed, describing how he and his family are now constantly trailed by their own personal paparazzi, courtesy of America Rising.
Who is this group and why are they spending so much time and money following McKibben? DeSmog has the goods, laying out who's behind this surveillance effort. The interlocking network of nonprofit groups, a for-profit LLC and a PR agency are spearheaded by America Rising, which was founded by GOP operatives Joe Pounder and Matt Rhoades. Pounder worked for the RNC and Rubio's campaign, while Rhoades was Mitt Romney's presidential campaign manager and formerly of DCI group- the PR firm targeted by the #ExxonKnew subpoenas. They met in 2004, when Pounder was an intern for Rhoades in the Bush-Cheney campaign.
This is less of a rag-tag team of citizen journalists and more of a professional political stalking network. And while McKibben doesn't seem particularly worried, it sends a pair of messages, one intentional, the other more revelatory.
The CoreNews site describes McKibben as the fringe and environmentalism as an extremist, far-left group. But one tends not to expend this sort of time and money on the fringe, revealing just how weak the GOP sees itself on the issue. If they're trying this hard to embarrass leaders like McKibben, clearly they consider him a viable threat. And the other message is the obvious one: If you're a vocal advocate for climate action then every move you make, they'll be watching you.
They're not the NSA or The Police, but this sort of surveillance must certainly still Sting.